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When Temptation Knocks at the Door

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Photo by Christopher Flowers on Unsplash

Does it ever feel like the entire world is against you and that no matter what you tried, nothing worked?  Well, that described my day today.  It started out on a good note and finished on a bad note.  Through it all, I think I managed to stick to my plan.  It was somewhat of a stressful day in that almost nothing went according to schedule.  I arrived at work early, parked far away, and took the stairs from the parking garage to the lower level where my office is located.  I ate both breakfast and lunch at work and made healthy choices at both meals.  As the day progressed so did the level of my stress.

My phone would not stop ringing.  People stopped in to ask questions, emails kept coming and through it all, I had a project I was trying to finish.  On top of all of this, I spent about one and a half hours waiting in line on two separate occasions to resolve an issue simply because someone would not listen.  The irony is that the issue could have been resolved in 10 minutes had they listened.  It was no wonder that when quitting time came i could not leave. I had to remain at work for an additional two hours charting.  I was not a happy camper.  I was hangry.  You know hungry and angry at the same time.  Lunch had been 6 hours earlier and my stomach was rising up in protest letting me know that it was not happy about that fact.  I wanted to eat everything that was in my way but thankfully the only thing available was chocolate of which I am not a big fan (more on that one later) and peanuts which I did not want either.

I realized that I was dangerously close to buying french fries (one of my temptation foods) and knew that had I yielded to the temptation all the hard work for the day would have been in vain.  Before we go any further let me set the record straight.  I am not against french fries, nor any foods for that matter.   I believe that most foods can be part of a balanced diet if consumed in moderation.  But let’s be honest I love french fries and would eat them every day all day if I could but this is not healthy.   I had made healthy choices at breakfast and lunch and all that success would have been sacrificed if I had taken the trip to the cafeteria.  I wanted to get the fries and found many reasons why I should have them.  It was the battle of the century until I realized that I was literally sabotaging the weight loss plans/goals that i had made to improve my health.  How crazy was that?  Eventually reason won out and I gained the victory.  I chose to have yogurt instead of french fries.  One hundred calories versus 380 calories.  Score one for me.

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Photo by kayleigh harrington on Unsplash

This experience has taught me that stress is one of my triggers to eat.   They say to be warned is to be forearmed.  Now that I know that stress is one of my triggers I must make changes and develop strategies to handle my stress that does not involve food.  Things such as listening to music, burning candles, prayer, meditating, going for a walk, drinking water, and dancing are just some of the other ways to handle stress.  This is just one of my many triggers but it is one chink in a weakened armor that has been fixed.  I am ready to wage war a little safer knowing that a hole in my defense is mended.  Continue setting your goals and developing your plans.  Post a comment let me know what’s going on with you.  What struggles are you facing?  Continue the journey as we choose to live revived.

Goal Setting Part 2: Are you S.M.A.R.T.E.R than your Problems?

 In order to make effective plans, you must take the time to think, pray, meditate and consider what you want to accomplish. Fitzhugh Dodson said, “Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” Today we will focus on setting your own goals and we are going to do so using the acronym SMARTER.  The idea of SMARTER goals was developed by Paul J. Meyer for use in business but has been adopted for use in many areas.  Let us begin setting our goals!
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S-Specific
Being specific means you have to be brave enough to tell yourself the truth.  Many live in denial about the state of their health and it is not until confronted with an illness that they accept the truth of their condition.  Being specific calls for us to admit that we have a problem and actually name the problem.  Unless you are specific and admit to the problem you cannot defeat the problem.  Example:  I want to lose 30 pounds means accepting and admitting that I am 30 pounds overweight and as such is at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and death to name a few.  It means coming clean not just to myself but to others who love me and want the best for me.  If you name it, it becomes real, not nebulous.
M-Measurable

Measurable goals are great because you can track them and, for those who love math, they can be quantified. It is easy to track progress when you have a measure to compare it against. For each pound I lose, I can subtract it from the number that I want to attain and see how far I have come but also how far I have to go.  As one friend pointed out to me the other day, slow progress is still progress.

 A- Attainable 
Attainable goals are goals that can be achieved. It may seem that my goal of losing 30 pounds is impossible but I believe all things are possible. I also know that we must divide our goals in to bite size pieces. They say you eat the elephant one bite at a time and in achieving your goals you must also choose to take it in bite-size pieces. It will be necessary to set long-term goals and short-term goals. My long-term goal is to lose 30 pounds but my short-term goal is to lost 10 pounds. The ten-pound weight loss is very achievable and in a short enough time to keep me motivated. Choosing to have a short-term goal is recommended as this is useful in developing “sticktoitness”.  When only long-term goals are made people turn back or stop the journey because it seems they are not making progress.  Do you remember taking road trips? Designating points along the way to serve as markers to let you know that you were close to your destination.  Short-term goals are points on the journey that lets you know the end is drawing near.
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R-Relevant

Just as we strive to be relevant in our professional lives, our goals should be relevant to who we are and who we would like to become. Losing weight is relevant to me because I want to be healthier and I want more energy. I know from past experience that when I work out and lose weight I feel so much better. I remember discussing the benefits of exercise with a friend of mine and remarking that even the days seem to have more hours in them when I exercise because I accomplish more in shorter amounts of time.

T-Time-Bound 
 All goals require time limits. Without specifying realistic time limits we would set goals that are unattainable and as a result, would become discouraged.  There is a saying that says “to everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under the heaven”.  To choose realistic time limits we must carefully study to see how long tasks are supposed to take.  If you assign too little time to complete a task you will set your self up for failure.  The converse is true.  If you give too much time to accomplish a task you could waste time that could be spent working on other goals.  It is safe to lose 1-2 pounds per week.  Losing 30 pounds should take about
ut 30 weeks.  I need to assign myself a short-term goal of 10 pounds in 3 months and renew that goal after each 3 month period.
E-Evaluate

We should take time to evaluate our goals to ensure that we are achieving the desired results. Take time to review the goal, time limits, and plan to see if it meets the needs of what you are trying to accomplish. If your plan does not fully meet your needs, you will need to adjust your plans.  If the time allotted is sufficient, you should be making progress

R-Re-evaluate

Re-evaluate as often as is necessary to stay on course.

  • Example: I want to lose 10 pounds in the next 3 months so that I can walk with less knee pain. After 1 month evaluate your plan. You should be halfway to your goal. If you are not making the progress that you desire, re-evaluate your plan and adjust your work out or your diet to ensure its effectiveness.

Congratulations on taking the next step in becoming a healthier you so that you can live revived!

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Goal Setting Part 1: Planning Makes Perfect

I  heard a story once about a guy who sketched the plans for his house on a paper towel.  He ordered the necessary materials and began to build.  After digging the basement, work began on the foundation.  As the foundation progressed, he realized that his plans were way off.  If he were to continue, the house would not be able to support the weight of the walls and roof.  He consulted professional plans, a contractor, adjusted his plans, and was able to build a very beautiful and safe home.

As we make our plans today, let’s remember that plans are subject to change and require flexibility.  It is not uncommon to make plans for the future and find out that the time needed to accomplish the task was more than anticipated.  It is also not uncommon to learn that you could accomplish a task in less time than was previously planned.  Planning is not just about the destination it is also about the journey.  How you handle the bumps in the road (setbacks) will determine how successful your plan will be.

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Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

The first step in any planning process is to determine what you are trying to accomplish and how best to arrive there.  Let’s take for example weight loss. If you are trying to lose weight you would need to determine the necessary steps to lose the weight.

  1. Determine how much weight you want to lose
  2. Determine what steps you are going to take to lose the weight
    • change eating habits
      • drink more water
      • less fat
      • more fiber etc.
    • exercise
      • what type?
      • how often
      • when will you exercise?
      • where will you exercise?
      • Will you have a partner? If so who?
    • get enough rest
      • set a bedtime
  3. Determine length of time to accomplish the goal
    • month
    • 6 months
    • one year
  4. Set short term and long term goals (we will be dealing with goal setting in our next post)
    • 5 pounds in 2 months
    • 30 pounds in a year
  5. Determine how you will reward yourself
    • never use food as a reward
    • get your nails done
    • get a massage
    • buy a new book
    • buy a new pair of shoes
    • go to a concert
  6. Develop a contingency plan:  what will you do if you have a bad day?
    • Don’t throw in the towel begin again tomorrow
    • Everyone falls down at times, the key is not to stay down but to rise again and do battle
  7. When will you begin?
    • Begin today. Even if you only change one thing, it will bring you one step closer to accomplishing your goals
To succeed you must take the time to develop a plan.  Luke 14:28-33 says that in order to build a tower (building) you need to first count the cost (make a plan).  Your assignment today is to work on a plan for what habit you are trying to overcome.  If you have questions post a comment and I will respond.  We will be talking about goal setting in our next session.  Until our next session happy planning!
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Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Getting What You’ve Always Got

If you always do what you have always done you will get what you always got.  I heard this saying a long time ago and it made me think of a hamster.  Hamsters are always on the wheel running but going nowhere fast.  Many of us feel like the hamster running with no purpose in mind.  In your health journey, you have a purpose, achieving a healthier life, a life lived to the fullest.  This my friends, require change.

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Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

In life, change must come but few are prepared or are willing to make the necessary changes.  The process of change is not a comfortable one; It calls for introspection and honesty with ourselves and with others.  Our discomfort can cause us to become stagnant and not change and as a result, forfeit the victories we would have gained.  At some point along the journey to change some stop trying and become discouraged.  Why you may ask? Because moving past the discomfort to achieve the change is hard.

Ultimately when making any change the person who needs to be convinced is YOU.  The voice in our heads that tells us we cannot do it need to be silenced.  Questions such as  “Haven’t you tried this before and it didn’t work?”  “What makes you think that it is going to work this time?”  The answer to those questions is that this time you are prepared to do the work required, this time you have a true purpose and are not going to do what you have always done.  This time you are going to push past the negative voices.

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Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

One step towards getting a different result is to practice positive affirmations.  Tell yourself I will succeed.  I will make it this time.  I value me and appreciate the person I am becoming.  It may be necessary to do this daily or even several times daily in order to gain control.  Some may say positive affirmation is psychological babble.  I disagree.  It is learning to love yourself and take control of your thoughts.  Many of us have been taught that we are not lovable, not worthy, worthless and as such we treat our bodies that way.  You may not conscientiously say this but our actions show that we do not love ourselves the way we should.  It is time today to choose to love yourself because only then will the changes be made only then will you get off the wheel and do something different.

Some will say you are being selfish but I disagree.  On an airplane, you are encouraged to put on your mask before helping someone else.  It is necessary to establish your own mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health before taking care of someone else.  Which is more selfish? Loving myself or harming myself?  Not changing is causing harm to your body and mind.  I would rather love myself because in so doing I learn to truly love others.

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Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

Doing something different begins with replacing the voices in your mind that tell you cannot succeed with ones that say all things are possible.  It is possible to get different results if you do something different.  Have a great day and remember the purpose of the journey is to be a healthier version of yourself.

Attitude Adjustment

 

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Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

 

Thursday was Thanksgiving here in the United States and for many, this meant a day spent with family eating lots of delicious food.   There were games, laughing, talking, joking and lots of fun but few took the time to express thanks.  Many have forgotten the purpose of the holiday and it has now become just a day to overindulge.  For some, it was an opportunity to be thankful.  Let’s not leave our thankfulness at the Thanksgiving table but take this attitude with us throughout the year.

What does it mean to be thankful or to have gratitude? Webster’s Dictionary defines gratitude as being thankful.  Scientist are discovering that an “attitude of gratitude”  has many benefits. Recent research has found that those who practice and cultivate an attitude of gratitude have less financial difficulties are more emotionally stable,  are less greedy, have fewer episodes of depression, and have more energy.  In addition, they sleep more soundly, have better immune systems, exercise more, and are less likely to be an alcoholic and are much happier than those who do not cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  Similar results were found in children.  Children who cultivate the attitude of gratitude have better grades, focus less on material things, set higher goals in life and complained of fewer aches and pains.

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Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

There are many ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  One method is to develop a gratitude journal or a blessings journal.  In this journal you take the time daily to write about the things for which you are grateful,  Another method that I have heard of is the gratitude stone.  In this method, one carries around a small stone and each time they feel it or remember it they recount what they are thankful for.  Writing a gratitude list, recounting one’s blessings before going to sleep, making visits and thanking those whom we are grateful for are other ways one can cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

One of the most impacting ways that you can cultivate and attitude of gratitude is to practice positive thoughts.  Instead of focusing on the bad in the situation choose to see the good in it.  If you cannot find the good while you are in the situation, then choose not to say anything.  During this season of thankfulness let us pledge to remain thankful, for in so doing you are creating a healthier you so that you can be healthy for life.